Reverberant environments are common in our daily lives but are usually neglected in lab experiments. In CS3, we investigated whether reverberation affects listening effort in normal hearing subjects in virtually created acoustic scenarios.

We created nine different listening situations by combining easy, moderate and challenging signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) and amounts of reverberation. Listening effort was assessed both objectively with brain signals (electroencephalography – EEG), and subjectively with a questionnaire.

The results showed that adding reverberation time in a challenging SNR situation can impact both listening effort and speech intelligibility. This study can help inform the development of devices (e.g., hearing aids) that are more prepared for ecological situations where there is reverberation.  

“I think this was a powerful study for HEAR-ECO, as it truly consisted of HEAR, by using brain signals to measure listening effort, and ECO, by using virtually created acoustic scenarios that reflected true ecological experience.”

Tirdad Seifi Ala

“The study succeeded in developing an innovative way to test listening effort in ecologically valid scenarios. Working at the forefront of technology, designing and executing an experiment relevant to the community, which combined different fields of knowledge, was enriching from the point of view of academic and industrial training.”

Sergio Aguirre